Few options are available for the treatment of feline allergic dermatitis; this may be due to the fact that feline hypersensitivity dermatitis is generally less understood as compared with its canine counterpart, atopic dermatitis. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a lipid compound that has anti-inflammatory effects and acts by downregulating many of the cells involved in the allergic response (eg, cutaneous mast cells, T cells, keratinocytes, macrophages). This study* investigated the use of ultramicronized PEA (PEA-um) in cats with non-flea–hypersensitivity dermatitis.
Fifty-seven cats were initially enrolled in this double-blind study, but only 25 met all requirements for analysis. Cats received a 28-day tapering course of methylprednisolone and were assigned to either the PEA-um group or the placebo group; PEA-um (15 mg/kg PO every 24 hours) or placebo was administered for 12 weeks. Cats were assessed throughout the study through the use of an owner-reported visual analog scale and global assessment score, as well as a clinician-reported validated score for assessment of skin lesion extent and severity. Cats receiving PEA-um had lower pruritus scores as compared with placebo-treated cats both when steroids were stopped and when a flare was noted following steroid cessation. In addition, cats that received PEA-um had a significantly longer time until relapse following steroid cessation (mean, 40.5 days as compared with 22.2 days in the placebo group). In the PEA-um group, 33% of owners reported that there was no worsening of their cat’s condition following steroid discontinuation, an observation not noted by any owners of placebo-treated cats.